As many health care professionals and executives know, progress has been slow on the transition to ICD-10, the latest medical classification list. This process has largely taken a backseat to other priorities for health care organizations, including electronic health records and the reduction of expenses.
However, with the ICD-10 conversion date set for Oct. 1, 2015, it’s important to develop a plan for a successful implementation. The following are a few ways your organization can best prepare for it:
Create a comprehensive schedule
There is a great deal of planning required with ICD-10, particularly related to your existing systems and technology. This will involve working with multiple vendors to make these updates, as your various systems likely interface with one another. Failing to account for all of the ways in which your systems work together could represent a major weakness as you move forward with ICD-10 implementation.
Because of this, it is important to develop a comprehensive plan both within your organization and between your vendors to make sure there is a level of cohesiveness among all of the parties involved. If possible, you should consider setting up a planning session with all of your onsite vendors to help ensure this process runs as smoothly as possible.
Align your human resources
In addition to your technology, the implementation of ICD-10 will likely place significant stress on your human resources. Once it goes live, there will be many healthcare organizations scrambling to adjust to the inevitable problems that will occur with the new classification system.
Because the ICD-10 classification system requires doctors to be a great deal more specific in the documentation of patient treatments, it will be critical for healthcare providers to have well-trained medical coders and billers on staff in order to avoid inappropriate codes being used in the billing process, which would result in costly claim denials that can adversely affect your revenue cycle billing and collections.
Have a plan for communication and training
As your organization implements ICD-10, it will be incredibly important to achieve a certain standard of collaboration and communication with payers. You should include payers in your testing efforts, and be sure to account for the fact that the changes being executed will seriously affect physicians and medical staff. Therefore, you may need to adjust your physician-based systems and train doctors on any changes in practice they will need to make.
When it comes to physicians, peer-to-peer training is often the best option. You will also need to time this training so it is completed prior to the full transition to ICD-10.
At Howell Consulting Group, we help your health care organization optimize your health information technology systems for a successful ICD-10 implementation. We invite you to contact us today for an initial consultation.
About Howell Consulting Group
Howell Consulting Group provides healthcare consulting services to hospital and physcian practices nationwide. Our key focus areas are revenue cycle management, health information technology, and revenue cycle billing and collections.
HCGs consultants are highly experienced in all aspects of healthcare financial management. We implement revenue cycle best practices to optimize your receivables performance and maximize your cash flow.
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